Tribe Mask by Tim Fammels

5 Art Installations in Canada Everyone Should See

Dorran Abbott September 13 2023


There are art installations in virtually every Canadian city and town, it just sometimes takes a keen eye to find them. So, we have compiled a short list of 5 must-see art installations in Canada for all the art lovers and art enthusiasts out there!

You may miss some of Canada’s most iconic art installations if you’re unsure where to look. Although there are a plethora of installations—temporary and permanent—that we could have mentioned, we have narrowed down a list of 5 specific permanent installations across Canada. This way you can be confident they’ll be there for your potential future visit. And while you may enjoy looking at the pictures of each art installation, it is nothing like seeing their wonder in person.

‘Rising’ by Zhang Huan

#5 ‘Rising’ by Zhang Huan

This wondrously imaginative sculpture is located outside the Shangri-La in Toronto, Ontario. It was created by Chinese artist Zhang Huan and consists of stainless steel doves atop large, winding branches and vines. The installation appears to be crawling up the side of the building, with doves resting and taking flight. The sculpture captures the vision of Zhang Huan by depicting the harmonious coexistence of humans and nature.

‘Wonderland’ by Jaume Plensa

#4 ‘Wonderland’ by Jaume Plensa

This massive sculpture of a human head sits outside The Bow in Calgary, Alberta. The sculpture is 12 meters tall and was constructed by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa using bent wire. You can enter the wire head through two entrances on each side of the neck and stare up at the structure from inside. The artist claims that he wished to play with the idea of bodies and architecture when he created the installation. The sculpture is a striking focal point for The Bow and is a must-see art installation in Calgary.

‘Maman’ by Louise Bourgeois

#3 ‘Maman’ by Louise Bourgeois

This bronze spider sculpture sits outside the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, Ontario. The spider’s spindly legs rise high into the air and loom over everyone passing by. The underbelly of the spider holds a sack of marble eggs. The sculpture is both eerie and whimsical; a truly astounding sight as you enter, or pass by, the museum. Maman, which translates to ‘mother’, is an ode to Louise Bourgeois’s mother. It is meant to represent themes of weaving, nurturing, and protecting. The artist Louise Bourgeois is known for her large-scale art installations and ‘Maman’ proves why!

'People Waiting’ by John Hooper

#2 'People Waiting’ by John Hooper

These wooden sculptures sit—or rather, stand—on a street corner in Saint John, New Brunswick. The sculptures are of a group of cartoon-like people waiting for a fictional bus. The sculptures have been there for nearly 50 years, created by Canadian artist John Hooper in 1977. These colourful, life-sized sculptures have been a fixture of Saint John’s art scene for decades. So, if you can make time to visit Saint John, make sure to get a picture with these life-like figures.

Les Passages Insolites

#1 Les Passages Insolites

This art walk in Quebec City comprises a plethora of contemporary and interactive art installations. As you traverse the path, you will be confronted with an array of wondrous, wistful, and weird art installations by many different Canadian artists and non-Canadian artists. Each piece has its own unique identity and artistic flair, so there is something for everyone. Thus, it is a must-see destination for all art lovers and art enthusiasts across Canada.


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